Fremont Co. detective on leave after possible evidence in 2006 homicide case found in storage unit

Posted at 4:15 PM, Jan 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-16 20:17:38-05

CANON CITY, Colo. – A Fremont County Sheriff’s Office detective is on administrative leave as the Colorado Bureau of Investigation looks into claims that evidence in a 2006 homicide case was found in a storage unit that formerly belonged to him.

Rick Ratzlaff of Canon City told the Pueblo Chieftain that he bought the contents of two storage units on Dec. 17, 2016 after their owners failed to pay the rent.

Inside one of those units, he found sheriff’s deputy uniforms and personal items bearing the name of a Det. Robert Dodd and envelopes labeled as evidence, Ratzlaff said.

Ratzlaff told the Chieftain the envelopes contained rope, socks and a hatchet, all of which had blood on them. Ratzlaff also reportedly found a paper bag containing a bullet casing and a bloody blanket.

The items in question appear to be related to the case of 17-year-old Candace Hiltz, who was found dead at her mother’s home in 2006.

The girl’s brother, James Hiltz, was initially named a person of interest in Candace’s death. He was later arrested on a number of burglary, criminal trespass and theft charges. Authorities said he broke into a home and stole hatchets and flashlights.

Ratzlaff told the Chieftain that Fremont County Sheriff Jim Beicker called him on Dec. 30 and mentioned that the evidence could be related to the Hiltz case.

In a news conference Monday, Beicker confirmed that he contacted Ratzlaff on Dec. 30 and arranged a meeting at the storage unit.

Beicker said he and a colleague, Cmdr. Jeff Worley, briefly examined the contents of the unit and then contacted the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, who requested the items be cataloged and taken to the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office evidence locker.

On Jan. 3, Beicker met with CBI agents and handed over all of the evidence to them, Beicker said.

Beicker said Dodd has been placed on routine administrative leave pending the results of the investigation.

When reached for comment, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation released the following statement:

“The Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was requested by the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office to investigate an incident involving apparent evidence discovered at an off-site facility in December 2016. Because this is an active investigation, the CBI will not offer comment on the work being conducted by agents from the Bureau’s Pueblo Regional Office.”

Beicker said his department would not release any more details until the investigation is complete.


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